'Jolly Workers' holds gala tea party

MARION – Marionite Virginia Moomey is president of the Jolly Workers, an organization that is part of Osceola County history. Moomey isn’t sure exactly when the club was founded, but she knows it has been meeting for at least 90 years, perhaps closer to 100.

Women from Marion and surrounding towns and villages have been gathering monthly for nearly a century to socialize and serve the community. In the early years, meetings were in members’ homes and travel was by horse and carriage.

The organization, which now meets at the Middle Branch Township hall, supports a number of worthy causes including the Marion food pantry and the Campus Crusade for Christ International. Members also prepare and serve funeral dinners and offer other help as needs arise.

On Thursday, more than 20 ladies wearing fancy hats of all sizes, shapes and colors enjoyed a gala tea party organized by Peggy Hoard and committee members Carolyn Ahrens and Sarah Blackledge, all from Marion.

Members brought their own favorite teacups--some more than 50 years old--and related the history of the cups, recalling where they were acquired and how they became a nostalgic part of family memories.

“This cup is very special to me,” said Helen Joslin. “I bought it 53 years ago while I was on my honeymoon in Sault Ste. Marie. When I came back from my honeymoon, I gave it to my mother for a souvenir because she collected teacups, and now it belongs to me again and each time I use it, I think of some special times.”

During the luncheon which included dainty tea sandwiches, savory sweets and a variety of flavorful teas, members were entertained by a trio of musicians.

Laurie Kohlhaus from Marion played the saxophone. She was accompanied by her children, Hannah age 13 and Isaiah age 12, both on the accordion.

“I really like our special events like this tea party,” said Lorraine Pretzel from Marion. “I’ve been a member for over 10 years and I have stayed in the club all these years because I enjoy the friendships and companionship we have, and the various causes we support.”

As for the future, Moomey is confident the club will continue for many years to come maintaining its tradition of friendly get-togethers and service to the community. Upcoming events include a fall color tour, Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings and a Christmas celebration at a local restaurant.

The Jolly Workers meets on the second Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. during the summer, noon during the winter. All women from Marion and the surrounding area are invited and new members are welcome. For more information about the club and its activities, contact Moomey at (231) 743-6313.